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NBA Shooting woes

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Dr of Dunk, Jan 14, 2001.

  1. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Posting this in the Rockets forum since we have a couple of former/current Rockets being quoted. I went ahead and bolded some of the info. Nice comments about ISO's, 3 pt. line, static offenses, etc by the panel of 4 interviewees. I thought it was a really nice read.

    The following article was taken from the Houston Chronicle (online) :

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/sports/bk/bkn/795068

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    NBA scoring less with fans as point totals and shooting percentages fall
    By MICHAEL MURPHY
    Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle


    It would seem to be the most fundamental aspect of the game, yet it remains a lost art in today's NBA. If you want a mental challenge, try to unravel this intriguing mystery: Why can't NBA players shoot the basketball?

    The riddle of cold fusion will be solved before anyone figures out why the NBA has come to stand for National Bricklayers Association.

    For proof of the league's ineptness at this core part of the sport, just look at the games (if you can). You would see Charlotte's David Wesley knocking down a jumper with 16.6 seconds remaining, not only icing a Hornets victory over the lowly Chicago Bulls but putting his team at the 100-point mark, a rare occasion in the NBA these days.

    But there should have been an asterisk next to the final score. Or three of them, since it took that many extra periods for the Hornets to reach the century mark against the league's worst team.

    Need more?

    The New York Knicks, who feature offensive talents like Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston and Glen Rice, had back-to-back losses in which they scored 68 and 58 points.

    But it is just another day in New York, where the Knicks long ago perfected the half-court wrestling approach to the game. The problem is that the entire NBA is playing that way and has been for a while.

    Scoring has been spiraling downward for quite some time, with field-goal shooting dropping from 49.1 percent during the 1984-85 season (when teams averaged 111 points per game) to 43.9 percent this year (when teams average 93.8 points).

    Fans can't run away fast enough. It is rumored that instead of employing more traditional agonies like bamboo shoots under the fingernails or water torture (or Kenny G), extremist groups now cue up a tape of Charlotte's 65-56 victory over Miami, an excruciating game that featured 90 missed shots, or Toronto's 93-72 win over Boston on Friday night in which each team scored nine points in the lowest-scoring third quarter in league history.

    Even by the pathetic standards of Miami's ossified offense, the 29.2 percent field-goal shooting and 52 percent foul shooting in the former game stand out.

    Nothing the NBA has tried -- rules changes, enforcement of existing rules, moving the 3-point line -- has worked. And none of the anticipated changes -- shaving time off the 24-second shot clock or eliminating illegal defense rules -- is going to rectify the situation, either.

    Until the league addresses the fact most NBA players simply can't shoot the basketball, the scores will get even lower.

    There are a few exceptions, such as Houston, Reggie Miller, Dell Curry, Dana Barros, Eric Piatkowski and Matt Bullard, but for the most part, shooting has become the great lost art.

    Why?

    In an attempt to answer this perhaps unanswerable question, we broached the matter with four experts on shooting -- former players Calvin Murphy (48 percent from the floor, 89.2 percent from the foul line in 13 NBA seasons), Mike Newlin (47 percent from the field, 87 percent from the free-throw line in 11 NBA seasons), Eddie Johnson (47 percent from the floor, 84 percent from the line in 17 NBA years), and Billy Keller (46 percent from the floor as the Indiana Pacers' designated 3-point shooter, 87 percent from the foul line in seven ABA seasons).

    They all agree today's players simply lack the ability to hit a simple jump shot, and here are their theories as to why:

    ·Most NBA players can't shoot because they never have needed to.

    "I've said all along that these guys (NBA players) are victims of their bodies," Newlin said. "They're so athletic and have spent all their time learning how to dunk and driving by people. It's the testosterone thing to do. That's the mentality. So players today become victims of their own talents, their own assets."

    Johnson, who was recognized as one of the purest jump shooters in the league at a time when sweet shooters like Larry Bird, Kiki Vanderweghe, Alex English and Walter Davis were playing, agreed.

    "They've never been taught the fundamentals of shooting," Johnson said. "Since they've been able to dominate athletically from high school through college, they haven't had to learn to do anything else.

    "But now they get to the NBA, where athletic ability evens out, and they can't get to the rim and dunk or get layups anymore. Now they're forced to take jump shots, with predictably horrible results."

    ·Players no longer put in the practice time working on shooting.

    "I think that in today's game, kids don't really like to go out and practice shooting," said Keller, who runs the Indianapolis-based Fast Break Basketball Shooting School and coaches the Indiana Legends in the new ABA 2000 league. "All they want to do is play.

    "You're not going to develop your shooting or develop your technique of being a better player just through playing. I think that you have to go out and practice the basics, the fundamentals, break it down and work on your skills day in and day out."

    Which is the way European players like Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic (Yugoslavia) and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) -- two of the league's top marksmen -- have been brought up.

    "Even if (American-born players) make the effort to work on their jump shot, they don't know how to improve it," Johnson said. "I watch guys all the time as they step on the floor before games, and they don't understand. They're not shooting shots they're going to be taking in the game. You see big men out there shooting 3-pointers. It's crazy.

    "(Michael) Jordan worked on his game shots, and he got better, and that's why Vince Carter is getting better. Look at Kobe (Bryant). He went in the gym this summer and stayed in the gym three hours a day shooting jump shots. That's the only way you can improve, and a lot of these guys don't understand that."

    Bryant, the league's leading scorer, launched at least 300 jumpers a day. Like Jordan, the player to whom he is most often compared, Bryant now understands the value of the mid-range jump shot, because the 15- to 16-footer is always available in an NBA game since defenses are either packed inside or spread out to defend the 3-pointer.

    So when a player exploits that middle ground, the results can be phenomenal, as the Suns' Tony Delk proved in a 53-point assault against Sacramento. Delk attempted (and missed) only one 3-pointer in a 20-for-27 shooting night. Allen Iverson knocked down 20 of 30 shots in a 54-point night against Cleveland, taking mostly pull-up 15-footers off the dribble.

    Yet few players are willing to put in the time to work on the mid-range jumper.

    "You have to take hundreds and hundreds of shots a day," Newlin said. "And not only shots -- I would practice eight to nine hours a day, and I would only shoot from one spot. I could absolutely monitor any variances in my shot.

    "To this day, I could go out there and beat NBA players in a shooting game. I'm not trying to brag. I'm just telling the truth. And Calvin Murphy can say the same thing."

    ·Too many inexperienced players are being drafted.

    "Look at all these young players who are coming out of high school and into the pros -- they're killing the game," Murphy said. "Instead of learning the game in college and coming into the league polished, they're now learning the game in the pros. That's what's killing a lot of the shooting percentages.

    "The league is much younger now, and the players have not gone and gotten that four years of mature training (in college) where they are taught how to shoot."

    Keller agreed, comparing a talented basketball prospect to a gifted young musician.

    "You don't have a musical prodigy go around playing nothing but concerts all the time, but that's essentially what is happening (in basketball)," he said. "These kids just play in games. If a musician plays nothing but concerts all the time, he's going to continue to make the same mistakes.

    "What you have to do is when the concert is over, you figure out what it was you didn't do very well and then you go practice that. Basketball players have to do the same."

    ·The 3-point line. Strange as it may seem, most real shooters despise the arc, saying the lure of the extra point is ruining the game.

    "The worst thing that ever happened to shooters was the 3-point line," Murphy said. "Because of the 3-point line, everybody's out there shooting 30 percent. The middle-distance shooting, which is what we were accustomed to, is gone. The game has become 3-pointer, dunk and foul shot. Period."

    Johnson, who spent the final two-plus seasons of his career with the Rockets, also called the 3-pointer the worst thing to happen to the NBA.

    "You have the wrong guys shooting the (3-pointer) in all the wrong situations," he said. "That's the problem. Back when it came out, the 3-point shot was used the right way (as a game-winner or rally shot). Only the right guys took that shot. But the 3-point line is ruining the game now.

    "I was a shooter, but I wasn't a 3-point shooter. And if you look back at my career, you'll see that. I didn't take a lot of 3-pointers until much later in my career."

    ·Coaches are strangling the game by running largely static offenses that consist of little more than isolations and two-man games while everyone else stands around watching.

    "You cannot be a great shooter standing in one spot," Newlin said. "Part of being a great shooter is catching the ball on the move. You get the rhythm going in your shot -- a couple of dribbles and up. But the way the game is played today, you are now expected to do what the offenses are preventing you from doing (shoot accurately).

    "From a standing position, one of the hardest things to do is hit an outside shot. To be a great outside shooter, you need movement. But now the offenses are actually eliminating movement, but they're demanding more from shooters. It's an oxymoron."

    Johnson agreed.

    "Coaches have a lot to do with the state of shooting in this league, and one of these days they're going to have to own up to it," he said. "It's their philosophy on offense that has basically helped to push shooting back to the stone age.

    "Until they 'fess up to it and understand it, that will never get cured. But these isolations and standing around watching two guys play basketball ... it's a joke."

    So what's the solution to all the shooting woes?

    "If you get rid of the 3-point line, shooting will come back," Johnson said. "All these guys will get off that line and come back to their range. And it will also make coaches coach rather than just putting the ball in the superstars' hands and having everyone else get out of the way.

    "Five guys would have to move the basketball around. Now defenses are tighter, and spaces are closer, which would promote picking and (player) movement. And when you have movement, you get more (shooting) opportunities.

    "It becomes the NBA game of the '80s, back when teams were scoring 116 points a game and fans were griping, `Oh, there's no defense in that league.' The fans used to (embrace) teams like Detroit and Cleveland, the ones that used to beat on you and slow the game down to a crawl.

    "Guess what? Those same fans now hate that style of play."

    So do league executives, who look at turnstile counts that are plunging faster than the shooting and scoring numbers. Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Phoenix Suns, hopes the league can be rescued from its offensive doldrums.

    "If we have a more free-flowing game, where teams push the ball up the court and rely less on the half-court, all those things -- scoring, percentages -- go up," he said. "We need to take a look at our game; that's all. We need to take a hard look at the rules, experiment with some things and then take some logical, constructive steps.

    "I hope there are a lot of people in our league who will buy into it, because I'm a strong believer that something has to be done. All the stats and the history you want are there. We need to juice up our game."


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    "I personally don't think Jordan would have enjoyed playing with himself." -- JeffB lets us all know that Popeye and Clutch aren't the only ones with inside sources... (also an example of a BBS "sound-bite")


    [This message has been edited by Dr of Dunk (edited January 14, 2001).]
     
  2. BobFinn*

    BobFinn* Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the post D0D. I agree that bad shooting is part of the reason that attendance has dropped in the NBA, but it is not the only reason. A plain lack of talent is another reason. There are only a handful of players worth watching in the NBA.

    Mike Newlin hit the nail on the head. Players have too many other things going on besides BBall. They just don't practice enough.



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    When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view.
    -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
     
  3. CriscoKidd

    CriscoKidd Member

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    If the defense has adjusted, then it's time for the offense to adjust.

    Keep practicing those low percentage shots that the defense gives you so that low percentage shots become high percentage shots.

    That's why Mobelly rules!!!

    Rockets are practicing to become unguardable, just you wait!!!

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    snap crackle pop
     
  4. tacoma park legend

    tacoma park legend Contributing Member

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    I agree with HP, the poor shooting can be attributed to better defenses, and not a lack of practicing shooting among players. Coaches are smarter nowadays, players are more athletic, and nobody played D in the 80's.I really dont take articles written by people who have never been involved in basketball their entire life that seriously. If you go to a game and watch a player that many on this BBS feel is a bad shooter, Shandon Anderson, you will see that shooting is not a dead art. He will swish one after another. I promise you, if you saw walt williams or Jason Collier doing shooting drills they would knock down almost every one. If anything the shooting has improved. There is much more talent in the league today than there has ever been. Coaches and players are just smarter defensively.

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  5. BobFinn*

    BobFinn* Contributing Member

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    Having NBA League Pass and watching a whole lot of NBA action, I can tell you it isn't the defenses that is affecting the eroding shooting percentages in the NBA. It is players missing WIDE OPEN shots.

    Stop with the switching defenses. Invented by Chuck Daly? Thats the best joke I have heard in a long time. The '60's Celtics teams, and the '70's Knicks teams excelled at switching defenses.

    Low percentage shots are the norm in the NBA anymore. You can argue till the cows come home, but the numbers do not lie.

    HPee, do you really believe you know more than Newlin, Murphy and Johnson. Give me a break man. These guys have forgotten more BBall than you will ever know. And Newlin was one of the best defensive guards in the NBA when he was playing, so he knows what he is talking about.



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    When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view.
    -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
     
  6. tacoma park legend

    tacoma park legend Contributing Member

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    If you think the great Celtics teams of the past could compete with the Lakers or Spurs of today then you are out of your mind. It would be a blowout for the current teams. Anybody else besides me think that the current Duke team could beat a few NBA teams? I know they could beat the Wizards.

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  7. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Bob* ... I have league pass...and you are not following my argument. Yes they are missing open shots. But the pure shooters still exist. My point is the difference is defenders like Shandon have taken minutes away from the Sam Macks in the league.

    I disagree with you if you don't think Daly invented a new defense. Maybe we should make this a challenge...bet me!

    Nice "forget more than you know" argument. Nice useless personal attack. ugh. Let's personally attack heypartner, cause he's so cocky. So, what can I say to that than I have forgotten more than you know [​IMG], and I probably shot more baskets in one year than you have your whole life. You know nothing about me. You know nothing about how much I practiced this game. You know nothing about how much I played street ball. Not too surpringly, I'm a pretty cocky b*stard about my shooting. Newlin spoke the truth. He is right about shooting. But, there is nothing to it except practice. And yes, I practiced the very same shot (turnaround J at the elbow) hours on end, so maybe I figured out exactly what Newlin says. I agree with him as I said in my first sentence. But, I think Riley and Daly and Rudy and Eddie Jones, Jalen Rose and Starks, Maxwell, Shandon have a better argument. I know from hearing Rudy on this subject, that he does not agree with these sentiments.

    And saying Newlin was good on defense in the 70s is like saying Mobley is a good shooter in the 90s. It is all relative.

    Yes, the nba does not have as many shooters, and everything Newlin says I'm sure is accurate. I'm saying he dismisses the change to defense. And I think the 90s team beat the 80s team. To me, it is a better NBA in winning. We may not like the new NBA (and I can agree with that), but we can also say this NBA would win in the 80s.

    That is all that matters. Relatively speaking, the 90s defenses are the best in NBA history. And if you don't agree with that, then I guess we can't agree.

    [This message has been edited by heypartner (edited January 14, 2001).]
     
  8. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    You can agree with everything in this article and still say the scoring lows are due to increased defensive skills and fundamentals, especially Johnson's remark about eliminating the 3 ptr. I think this shooting fundamentals argument is only being made by shooters (both pro shooters and weekend hackers), and it is getting very boring. Notice the 4 in this article were just shooters. I'd like to hear what Chuck Daly has to say, Eddie Jones, Shandon, Sprewell, Maxwell, Starks, Kobe, Jordan, Payton. They'd say: You may be a better HORSE player than me Newlin, but you can't get your shot off against me, so sit down!

    Defense was atrocious in the 80's. There was no such thing as rotation until Chuck Daly invented it to stop the 80's scoring. Ever since, the NBA title winner has been the best defensive team in the league....e.v.e.r.y time.

    So, GMs started looking for that. Athleticism was a requirement for the new NBA that focused on defense. Rodman was the prototype the GMs looked for. Riley went hunting in the CBA for Starks and Mason-ry and nearly beat Jordan 3 times by doing so. There are just far more athletic defenders and every team plays rotation now. The rotation defenses can really disrupt motion offenses and penetrating, preventing fundamental ball from executing. These quotes like above by shooters and weekend hackers just do not address the revolutionary change in defense that took place in the late 80's and has got better and better each year.

    We can say that offenses had to adjust, because you can't find shots as easy as you once could. It was far simpler to get the ball in good scoring position in the 70's and 80's than it is now.

    From the defensive argument, GMs started putting athletic defenders like Shandon on the court who can't beat Newlin in a jump shooting contest, but the Newlin's can't find a job, because they can't hang on defense. So, since the Shandon's must play more minutes, the GMs have to find people who can score off them, hence the Mobley's/Iversons.

    Thus, better defense has not only slowed down the pure shooters, it has taken minutes away from them. To me, this is the more historically accurate argument.

    I really do not think there is anything wrong with the NBA aside from moving the 3pt shot in was a mistake. Revolutionary defense did this, and that is just a natural evolution that swept the league. Until the great defenders like Shandon become Newlin like shooters like Dumars, it will remain this way no matter what the pure shooters who can't find minutes might think. But exactly how many complete package Dumars-types can we expect...this league would be full of hall-of-famers then.

    The Newlin's out there have lost there positions in the NBA to superior defenders. Quit pontificating about how to practice shooting Newlin and spend more time practicing some damn defense, because your player-types can't hang in this NBA.

    [This message has been edited by heypartner (edited January 14, 2001).]
     
  9. Scarface

    Scarface Supremely FocASSed
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    I beg to differ partner, if what you say is true that shooters can't hang in this league how come all the pure shooters had some of the longer tenures in the NBA. Dale Ellis, Dell Curry, Eddie Johnson, Sam Perkins, Steve Kerr, Matt Bullard, Chris Mullin, Jeff Hornacek. Now some of those guys didn't deserve to be in the league that long (Kerr and Bullard) but since they had that shooting touch they did. Shooters will FOREVER be in vouge.

    Heres something to think about, with the NBA getting more and more athletic and shooters becoming more and more scarce, how long before the NBA is run by Kelvin Cato's and Rodderick Rhodes's? Its happening before your very eyes and most of you don't realize it or just won't admit it.

    With that said I'm out

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    "We need to fockass".....Dream back in the day
     
  10. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Scareface, defense is what is all about. You can find your petty examples, but defense wins in this league. Utah never won because Hornachek had to sit down in the playoffs.

    Horry, Starks, Maxwell got starting roles on championship quality teams because of their defense not their pure shooting ability.

    The shooters argument will never be as strong as Riley's and Daly's defensive argument. Do you want to continue this scareface or just muse about how HORSE wins in the NBA.

    There just aren't going to be many Dumars, Kobe's and Jalen Roses who can play D and shoot the lights out. That doesn't mean a defensive NBA sucks.
     
  11. BobFinn*

    BobFinn* Contributing Member

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    HPee,

    I was not attacking you. If it came off like that, well, I didn't mean it like that.

    As far as shooting more baskets in a year than I have my whole life, I am willing to bet I took more shots in 3 months than you have taken your entire life. But enough of this useless argument.

    I agree to a point that defensive players have taken some time away from shooters, but that is the point I was making in my original post. Take Walt Frazier as an example. He came to the NBA as strictly a defensive player, no shot whatsoever. He practiced his offense day and night until he became a very good offensive player. There are many players who were great offensively, who worked at becoming good defensive players. Very very few players nowadays do this. Why is that?

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    When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view.
    -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
     
  12. DEANBCURTIS

    DEANBCURTIS Member

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    Matt Bullard needs more publicity.

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    Ceo of the Walt Williams fan club. Web site coming soon


    atheistalliance.org
     
  13. ROCKETBOOSTER

    ROCKETBOOSTER Member

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    Take away those guaranteed contracts and I guarantee you players shooting percentages will improve.

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  14. JeffB

    JeffB Contributing Member
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    I think the shooters in the article are correct. The toughest thing about League Pass is watching guys miss wide open shots night in and night out. There is no excuse for not being able to hit open shots or taking shots that are out of your range.

    Defenses are better than they were in the 80s but today's defenses get a lot of help from the lack of enforcement (and inconsistent enforcement) of NBA rules regarding physical contact. I think a lot of today's top defenders would foul out in the first quarter in the NBA of the 80s. We can just look at the last few Rockets games to understand that the league is not enforcing its rules changes from last year across the board. Also, defenses do get a lot of help by the lack of creative offensive sets. The ISO is easy to defend. I have become a lot more aware of the lack of offensive creativity reading heypartner's posts about Rudy's motion offense. A guy has a better chance to hit a jumper if he is curling from behind a double pick @ 15 feet than if he is just standing around behind the 3 point line.

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  15. Scarface

    Scarface Supremely FocASSed
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    I think its kind of funny how partner crys about being criticized and yet he took shots at me. Kinda funny don't you think.

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    "We need to fockass".....Dream back in the day
     
  16. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Bob*,

    It was the "HPee, do you really believe you know more than these guys." Of course I don't. Anyhow, I wasn't offended. I just want a good argument. The lame "forgot" statement somewhat shocked me coming from you.

    Newlin really hit it home with how to shoot. But, I simply believe the defensive coaches in this league would disagree, that shooters have declined vs defenders have taken over. Of course shooters have declined, but the shooters are losing their jobs to better defenders, imo. That's all. I certainly don't believe there's less shooters in the world.
     

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